Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church (SSCRC) sees all people as image-bearers of God and worthy of dignity and respect. All people who participate in an SSCRC program or activity have the right to a safe environment.

We acknowledge the potential for abuse in our fallen world, but still we seek to prevent it. Children, young people, and vulnerable adults are at the greatest risk to be victims of abuse. SSCRC will not tolerate abuse in any form.

Abuse within our walls
Sadly, we as a community have experienced abuse within our congregation. On January 24, 2017, the Sherman Street council deposed Stedford Sims (formerly Outreach Pastor at Sherman Street and Pastor of Step of Faith) from the office of commissioned pastor due to abuse of office and serious deviation from godly conduct following allegations by an adult member of the church of unwanted sexual touch.

Through this instance we have woken up to the reality of abuse in our own congregation and how it affects many. We have taken steps to address abuse of power and are becoming more attuned and better equipped to help all people feel safe but realize there is always more to learn. We are on a journey and invite all to join us.

Education
An important step in our journey is participating in the Safe Haven Church Certification Program. SSCRC also has a number of books in our church library on the topic. Stop by the church office to check these out. 

Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
Fighting the Good Fight: Healing and Advocacy after Clergy Sexual Assault
Is It My Fault?

SSCRC Safe Church Policy
In response to this instance and others, SSCRC has restructured our Safe Church Committee which has expanded our SSCRC Safe Church Policy. This policy is in place to provide guidance and instruction about reporting and responses to ensure people of Sherman Street Church are safe.

SHERMAN STREET SAFE CHURCH POLICY
Revised September, 2019

Key Elements:
Volunteer Profile Form: Page 33
Family Emergency & Consent Form: Page 35
Incident Report: Page 39
Disclosure Decision Tree: Page 41

Witness or Suspect Abuse?
The elders and the Sherman Street Safe Church Committee encourage anyone who witnesses or suspects abuse to call local police immediately. Please consult the SSCRC SAFE CHURCH POLICY for information, including names of Safe Church Committee members. Any concerns around how safety is handled in our congregation can be directed to Ellen Jeltema, Ministries Coordinator and Chair of the Sherman Street Safe Church Committee (ellen.jeltema@shermanstreetchurch.org).